Hoyer Statement on Juneteenth

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) released the following statement today commemorating the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth:

"Today, I join in observing Juneteenth and reflecting the triumph of freedom over slavery in our country.  On this day 157 years ago, U.S. Army General Gordon Granger issued an order notifying the enslaved people of Texas of their emancipation.  This order, however, came months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Indeed, Juneteenth reminds us that, just because our laws and founding documents dictate that ‘all men are created equal,’ this vision has not always been the reality for all Americans – and, indeed, we must continue to work hard to make it so.  From the perils of Jim Crow and segregation to the repercussions of institutional racism that continue even today, Black Americans have worked to push our nation to live up to its founding ideals, long after the end of slavery.  

"Today, however, is not only about the emancipation of the enslaved and the celebration of their freedom.  Juneteenth honors the universal principles of liberty, democracy, and equality that define the American spirit.  No matter our color, faith, gender, orientation, or origin, we all cherish these values, and Juneteenth reminds us that we must work actively to uphold them.  That's why I was proud to bring Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s legislation to the House Floor last year and vote to pass it so that Juneteenth would, at long last, be observed as a federal holiday.

"I wish all my fellow Americans a happy and meaningful Juneteenth.  We must not turn our backs on America’s history; rather, we must confront it head-on to see how far we have come and how far we have still to go to fulfill the promise of America.  So long as we continue that journey together, I know we can keep making our union, each new day and each new year, a little more perfect."

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